AS anyone who follows me on social media will now know I have been lucky enough to make the final of The People’s Book Prize which will take place in London’s mythical Stationers’ Hall at the end of May, 2017.

For me this is a moment of real satisfaction as it has come at the second time of asking after my second novel ‘The Hurting’ was nominated in the autumn collection back in 2012 but failed to make the final.

Clearly there are lots of people I owe a special vote of thanks to in helping me get there, not least of all Andy & Caroline at my publishers McNidder&Grace, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help promote The Shift and shown real belief in my work.

Secondly to WH Smith and particular their Central Scotland stores director Garry Torrance, who gave me the platform in my home city of Stirling and then on successive Scottish signing tours to engage with the great Scottish reading public and increase the profile of The Shift to such a level that I will now be able to fulfil a long held ambition of mine, which is to meet the literary colossus that is Frederick Forsyth CBE when he hosts the final.

But most of all I must also thank everyone who took the time to vote for me, you have made an old man very happy!!

Euphoric as I may have been yesterday the elation of the moment had well and truly worn off when I returned to my writing desk at 0604am this morning to start work on the final five chapters of The Blood Acre, the follow up to The Shift, which is due out April/May 2017!

I am really pleased with the way the first draft MS has evolved, and consider that with 89,000 words written, some of the sequences in The Blood Acre are on a level higher than I have written before.

Time will tell if you agree with me, but I can say that my ‘expert reader’ Mr Les Truman, very much agrees with me on that as I head into the final furlong….good job there are no fences left to jump then!

Looking ahead to December I am now entering the most ambitious and challenging month of my writing career with seven book signings in just 24 days of the final month of the year.

That all starts in WH Smith St Nicholas Centre, Aberdeen tomorrow at 11am with a 12pm start at Perth WH Smith on Sunday to follow and ends back at Stirling WH Smith on Christmas Eve with an 11am start.

Rest assured I will be tweeting and Facebooking on my adventures spanning the length and breadth of Scotland as Thoroughgood and I hit the road.

Hope to see you out there!



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AFTER enjoying a few Saturday’s off in October it’s time to head back out on the road again on the second part of my WH Smith ‘The Shift’ Scottish signing tour.

Tomorrow morning at 11 am I will be at WHSmith Fort Kinnaird, near Edinburgh, and will be following that up with Saturday appearances at Paisley, Sauchiehall Street Glasgow, Ayr, Aberdeen, Argyle Street Glasgow, Gyle Books Edinburgh, finishing up in my hometown in Stirling on Christmas Eve.

The good news is that because the first half of the tour has gone so well I will also be revisiting Dunfermline, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Perth in December, so busy times await on the run-up to Christmas.

With sales going so well, so far touch wood, an opportunity has also opened up for me to head down south with a signing pencilled in for WHSmith’s flagship London store Kingston Upon-Thames at the end of January and then a North of England signing spree taking me to Newcastle, Gateshead Metro, Durham and perhaps Harrogate, in the spring.

Write (!) now however I am in a race against the clock trying to get the follow up to ‘The Shift’, entitled ‘The Blood Acre’, finished by the end of November/beg December.

This morning at around 0930hrs, after several strong mugs of tea, I hit the 70,000 word mark, with a little bit of musical inspiration from BBC Radio Two’s Sound of the Eighties show and have around 25,000 words to find to complete the first draft MS….NO PRESSURE!

A big part of ‘The Blood Acre’ revolves around an armed robbery on a bank down south and this is inspired by a real crime that happened in Torquay back in the 80s when a team of very colourful Glasgow ‘hoods’ decided upon a Busman’s Holiday!!!

My fictitious robbery will however take place in the Lancashire town of Heysham and recently, while on my own Busman’s Holiday, I scouted out the town and found a derelict branch of the NatWest, pictured below, which is perfect for purpose…believe me!


Suffice to say I am confident that the sequences written around the Heysham ‘job’ are some of the strongest pieces of writing I have produced over my crime writing career and because of that I have grown quite attached to my new bad guys Tony McGrain, The Spider, Parlane and Gregsy…I am also very relieved to say that my expert readers agree with me!!!

So it’s all systems go right now but if you are anywhere near Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird tomorrow please drop in at WHSmith for plenty of books, banter and baloney and oh so much more!!!








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